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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Heinzler’s last second goal gives Arizona soccer its first win in nine games

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Tyler Besh
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Count one … two. In two seconds a person can blink, take a breath and score a goal. With two seconds left in double overtime, Arizona junior midfielder Shannon Heinzler took a shot from the top of box, a silence went through the crowd as the ball reached the back of the net.

Fans jumped out of their seats and screamed as the Arizona bench flooded the field in excitement.

Heinzler’s goal gave the Arizona soccer team (6-10-3) its first win in nine games with a score of 1-0 over Utah on Sunday in Murphey Field at Mulcahy Stadium, and on senior day nonetheless.

“It was an adrenaline rush for sure,” Heinzler said. “In the last five seconds of the game everything slowed down … but for me I got composed and hit it and it went in. It was the perfect gift to give to the seniors.”

It was a bittersweet match for the seniors as it was their last home match as Wildcats. Prior to kickoff, Alex Smith, Ariel Boulicault, Jessica Culver, Susana Melendez, Kristyn Magyar and Kristin Strother were recognized as their parents met them in centerfield with flowers and balloons.

On the sideline near the bleachers, the six seniors’ numbers were painted on the field in white where they stood with their families for photo opportunities.

“Obviously we are leaving this final home game for our seniors with a huge smile on our face,” head coach Lisa Oyen said. “It is exciting for us because that’s how we wanted to send our seniors out.”

The Wildcats opened the game with a stronger offensive line than on Friday’s 3-0 loss to Colorado, but it quickly turned into a defensive game for Arizona with junior goalkeeper Gabby Kaufman leading the way.

Kaufman had six saves alone in the first half and recorded a personal-best 12 saves for the game. It was Kaufman’s third shutout of the season.

“It is great that I could do my job for the team,” Kaufman said. “I’m here to work hard for my team. The 12 saves wasn’t just me it was the entire team.”

Arizona went into halftime scoreless with Utah outshooting the Wildcats 10-4. The Utes shot 63 percent on goal to the Wildcats’ 33 percent.

Going into the second half, the Wildcats were forced into a defensive stance once again with the pace and enthusiasm of the game slowing down.

“That’s the hardest part of the game,” Melendez said. “The score is 0-0 and we just need to find a way to get a little boost, and finally we picked it up and found that boost and just kept going from there.”

Regulation ended and the Wildcats started overtime for the fifth time this season. Thanks to Heinzler, the Wildcats added a much-needed win and hope to carry that momentum into the season finale at ASU on Friday.

“We have the energy, the momentum and everything else to go into ASU to rock it,” Heinzler said. “We will come out fighting and with heart to end our season well.”

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